Revision time for 'Brave' at the Del Mar gate
Godolphin contender Home Of The Brave had a starting gate tutorial at Del Mar early Thursday in an attempt to have him sharp and ready to run the race of his life in Saturday's G1 Breeders' Cup Mile.
Trainer Hugo Palmer stressed the need for European-trained runners to be schooled up on the very different procedure at the start of American races.
"I always think it's important to have a refresher," Palmer said. "Having a stalls handler in the gate with him, and hearing the bell. It's good to remind him what happens here."
Home Of The Brave finished 11th, beaten seven and threequarter lengths, in last year's G1 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in his sole experience of racing in the States. "He was very quick away that day," the trainer recalled.
There is perhaps no more appropriately-named horse running at this major American race meeting, and one that will appeal to the patriotic.
He is a son of Starspangledbanner, and his name will be heard loud and clear as the words of the National Anthem are sung prior to the start of racing.
"Home Of The Brave is on good terms with himself," Palmer said. "And I think if he can get a good position around this track, he could be quite dangerous.
"I can't make a form case for him to beat Ribchester, who is the outstanding horse in the race. But he has beaten Suedois, and the form of that G2 Lennox Stakes is very strong," he added.
After supervising training of Home Of The Brave this week, Palmer left for Australia, where Wall Of Fire will be his first runner in the G1 Melbourne Cup at Flemington on Tuesday.
"It's exciting. I was delighted with Wall Of Fire's recent second in the G2 Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield (on Oct 14). He is well in contention, and I have to pinch myself that I have a runner in the Cup.
"I will be in Melbourne, which, sadly, means I'm not going to be at Del Mar for Home Of The Brave in the Breeders' Cup Mile," he added.